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A risk free rate is the return rate from investing in an asset that has the lowest risk found in the market. It is a naming convention. The least risky of all returns is labelled as 'risk free' for the purpose of various models and resulting discussions. Another parallel answer is that you must understand what financial risk is in the first place. It is, ...


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Ashwath Damodaran explains risk free rate in his 2008 paper, "What is risk free rate? A Search for the Basic Building Block". He has explained risk free rate from the perspective of investment. If we invest in an risk free asset then we expect guaranteed return. "An investment that delivers the same return, no matter what the scenario, should be ...


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It is a decision problem, it is always a decision problem... The most basic decision problem is a lottery that gives you X (X > 0) for a chance of %Y and nothing for %(100-Y). Someone comes and offers you to buy your ticket for Z (0 < Z < X, otherwise it is trivial). What would you do? If Z is close to X, you need to be more risk-willing (or seeking) ...


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Risk-free rate is that you get for letting someone else use your money in a riskless manner. Suppose we live in a world where there is no risk whatsoever. In particular, if you lend someone \$100 there is 100% certainty that he will pay you back in a year. Before the pay date, he can do whatever he wants with your $100, while you have no access to it. Even ...


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I suggest to distinguish three things: Why risk-free rate? What defines its magnitude and sign? And what is its role in specific economic models? "Why risk-free rate" is very simple to answer: Because you want to compare cash at different points in time. One assumes that the difference between cash at time $t_1$ i.e. $C(t_1)$ and at time $t_2$ is $C(t_1) - ...


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The risk free rate is important and the reason for the inclusion and consideration of the risk free rate is that investors do not get compensated for not taking on risk. Now, we can argue whether the risk free rate truly provides risk free returns (we all should know that it does not, but ...) but it is important in the context of pricing risky assets that ...


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In my opinion, risk free rate is not necessarily positive and not so important to pricing theory. It happened to be positive in most cases, but imagine a planet using Uranium-235 instead of gold as the money and unknowingly suffers from a shrinking population, likely the risk free rate is negative. Below are what I regard as important in pricing theory, ...


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My non-rigorous answer: The future is uncertain. Even if there is no financial risk to investing in the "risk free" asset there is personal risk. For example, I could get hit by a car and die. Even if I survive till the moment that I liquidate my investment I will have less time left in my life to enjoy it. I need to be compensated for giving up this ...


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The general problem of the investor is: $$ \max_{w\in[0,1]^n} U(\mu_p(w),\sigma_p(w))\quad s.t. \sum_{i=1}^n w_i=1$$ where $w$ being the portfolio weights, and $U$ utility function. CAPM assumes investors with concave utility function $U=\mu_p-\frac{1}{2}\sigma_p^2$, from which then follows that all investors mix the market portfolio with the riskfree ...



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